Adventures in San Francisco Pt. 2
Thursday, December 20, 2012 @ 10:51 PM

Part 1 | Part 2


The next day, instead of commuting via cable cars like I usually do, I took the public buses! I really do thank the inventors of the mobile phone, 3G network and of course, Google Map. I wouldn't have gotten around smoothly without them. Taking a bus in San Francisco was very different from taking the trolley on the bus, or hopping on a bus in Singapore. The impression I got from the bus drivers were that they were really fierce looking. It was very intimidating. Worse thing was, even though I figured out which bus stop to alight at, I didn't know how the door worked and got barked at by the bus drivers on 2 different occasions. :( The doors don't automatically open if you were to alight. You either had to step down onto the lower step before the door would sense that you were alighting, or touch a level on the door, or do both. The last time I took the bus, I was pretty confident about alighting, only to realise I had to do both before the door would open. The cable cars are so much more user-friendly. The people running the cable cars were really nice too!

The place I visiting for the first half of the day was the California Academy of Sciences, an attraction included in my handy Citypass. A huge skeletal dinosaur greets you as soon as you step into its compound. It reminded me of the movie, Night at the Museum, somehow! I am not all that interested in Sciences, museums and the like, but this place has a huge aquarium within it! There were surprisingly quite a lot to see and learn, and I enjoyed myself greatly there. My two favourite exhibits were definitely the Philippine Coral Reef Gallery and the Tusher African Hall. Nemos and Penguins, what's there not to love?! The Rainforest of the World Gallery was interesting too. I had to gather some courage before I dared enter that for there were free-flying birds and butterflies everywhere in 4(?) level climb up, but surprisingly, the whole experience felt like I was really exploring and learning about the life within a rainforest, the climate at different layers of the rainforest as well as the different inhabitants in each respective layers, from the bark all the way to the canopy!

Since the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) was located just opposite of the California Academy of Sciences, I decided to check it out as well. All I can say is, I am really not a person who can appreciate fine art. I tried my best to appreciate the displays, but still I couldn't last more than an hour in there. My favourite part of the place had to be the photograph gallery and the Tiki section. Those tribal work of art are pretty awesome. Photography was prohibited in the museum.

The next place I visited was Baker Beach, where apparently one can catch the best view of the Golden Gate in San Francisco according to Google. ;) The evening I went was foggy and I couldn't see much of the Golden Gate. It is pretty much a game of chance to catch a glimpse of the Golden Gate I guess! I ventured down the beach towards the bridge in hope of a better view, oblivious to the fact that the closer you are to the bridge, the more nudists there will be because the north part of Baker Beach was deemed as the 'nude' beach. I only realised that after I googled up the beach again that night, so I pretty much freaked myself out enough that evening that I abolished any plan for the night and went straight back to the hostel. That was after helping a two different nude men to take photos, climbing up a deceivingly pretty slope of sandy steps, trying to walk 1.5km up the hill while cars zoomed past me every 3 seconds, in bid to visit the Golden Gate itself and giving up after perhaps 5 minutes of climbing. It was really tedious and there were no trails for the hikers and honestly, I was too freaked out by the whole adventure at Baker Beach to be out alone anymore. So I headed back and rewarded myself with an upsized Burger King meal nearby while I people-watched and relished in the safety of bright lights and fully-clothed human-beings.

The next morning, I took the bus out to Alamo Square / Steiner Road, where the 'Painted Ladies' reside! I googled this place way before embarking on the journey to USA and knew I had to get there by hook or by crook, just to admire the Victorian age beauty of the houses in the backdrop of modernity! The funniest thing was, I was reading some reviews of the place and read that many people picnic on the greens opposite the Painted Ladies, and I decided I had to picnic there too, despite being on my own. So for breakfast, I crossed two streets to the Subway I had spied with my little eye the day before for bread and chips for the solo picnic! There were already groups of families, couples and friends settled on the grass, taking pictures and generally just chilling in the cool breeze when I arrived. The weather in San Francisco is really awesome.

I went exploring the area after the picnic with myself. It was quite sad because I miscalculated the days of my phone plan, so on this very last day, I could not use google map or communicate with anyone on my trip. I had to print screen all the directions from google map lest I get lost in the city. LOL. But then again, I was too busy gorging on my messy cold cut trio and watching two friends trying to get a good shot of themselves with the Painted Ladies behind to be sad for long. :D

 

I was in a dilemma whether to visit Baker Beach again in hope that I will get a better view of the Golden Gate or to take the bus straight to Golden Gate, but since my connection with the world was cut short by the expiry of my phone plan, I decided to take the safer route which was to visit Baker Beach once more. This time round, I did not venture too far out and it was a pleasant trip! I saw a lady with uncountable leashes and dogs and I decided I love people like that. I have no idea whether the dogs were all hers or she was just a dog-walker as a part-time job. The dogs were allowed to roam freely on the beach at times and it was cute how they would run up to you for a random pat before frolicking down the beach again!

I ventured to dip my feet into the freezing foamy water of the coast of San Francisco, in bid to find out how those nudists could survive in the water, and I realised you could get used to the cold. The day before, when I saw the first nudist on the beach, I thought he wanted to commit suicide. LOL.

The fog was still pretty much unrelentless on my 2nd trip there, but at least this time round, I could catch a glimpse of perhaps a quarter of the whole bridge so it was not that bad. It was pretty nice sitting and watching the waves crash into the sand. At one point when I was trying to take a photograph with a log and my shoes next to it, the tide came in so high that I had to hurry to save my shoes from being washed away! It was quite amusing even to myself HAHA.

I visited the famed Crooked Road of Lombard street after! After a steep climb upslope, I made it to the Crooked Road and I tried to take a decent picture amidst the throng of tourists trying to do the same. It wasn't as much fun walking up the sides of the slope, when people are gleefully driving or cycling down the zig-zag road. It's like taking an S-course in the circuit all over again and I wonder if there were people who didn't know how to maneuver down the zig-zaggy road? They will hold up the whole traffic since it is a one-way road and there are a lot of cars LOL.

After trying in vain to snap a good picture, I left the place (almost rolling down the steep slope) and went to my last stop of the trip, the visit to Chinatown! It was not as interesting as I thought it would be, for the eateries are all crazily overpriced. I can easily get 3 plates of fried rice in Singapore for 12bucks, thank you very much! So I ended up just randomly walking around the place before heading back.

I stood despite some nice people asking me to sit on my last ride back on the cable car. It was fun to hang 'precariously' at the side while the cable car amber its way up and down the slopes! :D

Since it was the very last night I had to spend in San Francisco, I decided to enjoy a quiet dinner at this Thai Restaurant diagonally across the road from my hostel, a restaurant I had eyed since day 1 HAHA. It was surprisingly good! They had my favourite basil beef rice, and it looked so appealing that a random stranger even came over to ask what is it that I had ordered. LOL.

That pretty much summed up my awesome trip in San Francisco. I reserved an airport transfer for the next morning right from the reception of the hostel, and the driver came promptly the next morning to load my overflowing baggages into the back of his van before heading to pick up a few other travelers like me to the airport. ^^ One girl was heading back to Hawaii and another girl was a guitarist if I don't remember wrongly.

Traveling alone really wasn't as scary as I thought. In fact, it was actually very refreshing and empowering. The flight back was nothing eventful, but my 11 hour long afternoon flight didn't come with in-flight entertainment so I almost died of boredom after finishing a book, watching a few episodes of BBT and HIMYM and playing pages of Sudoku. The flight back from Japan was awesome though. I remember crying like a mad bitch watching Soul Surfer on the way back.

I really cannot wait for Work & Travel 2013! ^^

 

<-- Part 1


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